Monthly Archives: October 2013

Tanya Bjork: More to Know (from Purple Rayne)

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PictureIn the past of couple of weeks, Tanya Bjork, current advisor for the Burke for Governor campaign, has come under fire from typically Progressive-friendly bloggers and the Facebook peanut gallery. While the right and responsibility to critique and question certainly plays a role not only in journalism, but also in democracy – I have to admit I am quite disheartened by the way this woman has been torn apart in such a public way. 

Tanya has worked tirelessly for over 20 years promoting Progressive causes. Not only has her work been thrown into the battlefield, so has her personal life. From her marriage to ethics – she has been exposed by a one-sided publicly visual microscope. And I thought it was time to open the lens and give another side to the story.

See the rest of the story HERE

 

My New Site: Purple Rayne

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Purple RayneI have been blogging for about 8 years and writing since I can remember. I am not formally trained but it is a passion of mine and it provides a cathartic release. I initially wrote about personal topics. But I became increasingly interested and involved in the political world. I would write about everything and anything on my site Ramblings of a Neurotic Housewife.

Since I started writing more about political issues, I decided it was time to start a site devoted to those topics. I will still have the other blog to ramble on about everything else. But this will be my new home for politics and social subjects. 

In 2011, I started getting heavily involved on local politics during the Wisconsin Recall effort. Soon after, I joined the Democratic Party of Racine County. I have been Secretary for DPRC for over a year and have recently been named Events Chair. 

For a long time, I refused to call myself a Democrat. I resented the forced two party system and want to claim my independence from that kind of structure. I learned after a while that the term “Democrat” was not a bad word and it is what you make it. 

I don’t have to agree with all other Dems. Progressives are free-thinking, we don’t typically follow blindly. If I disagree with an elected Dem, I will say so. I am not in a cult and I still have that rebellious girl inside. But I could see that my beliefs and principles followed Democratic values. I could see that these are the people I want to help elect. I could see that, like it or not, this is the playing field and Democrats work for the issues I care about. 

I have been called a liberal and a socialist. And quite frankly, I do not take offense to that. If being compassionate, rational, benevolent, logical, helpful and kind makes me those things – then I will surely embrace those attempted insults.

In the past few years, we have watched as the right move further and further to the fringe. And with an endless bankroll and media loyalty, they have been able to take over in a way that is terrifying. And this is happening tenfold in our beloved Wisconsin. Because of the right moving so far to the extreme, it is my desire to lasso the center and make sure it does not move with them. 

What used to be “liberal” causes (gay rights, healthcare, women’s rights, etc) are now mainstream. And this is why I think we are succeeding at redefining the center. If we can maintain common sense and basic human rights as the far right wing begins to fall off their cliff of greed – then let us be purple. We will take this new shade and make it our own. We will not give up on the people and their ability to simply know what is right. 

They will not take our center. The purple will be our’s. 

I hope you enjoy my new site, Purple Rayne.

Death Blows

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On Tuesday,  I wrote about my recent panic attack. I just wanted to mention some things about that before delving into the whole death thang that I wanted to talk about today.

I had mentioned that the attack snuck up on me as I was calmly eating my salad. Well, there is something that is pretty consistent with panic sufferers – we are masters at practicing avoidance. And for everyone it is different and at varying degrees. For some, if they have an attack in a grocery store (which seems to be a big trigger for some people) – they may avoid going back to that store or any store until they absolutely have to. If they have an attack on an airplane – chances are they will avoid flying for a while if they are able.

My attacks happened all of the time and usually at home. So I really couldn’t avoid that. But I did notice tonight that for the past two nights – I actually avoided eating my nightly salad. I have to laugh because that sounds SO. STUPID. Once I realized it, I made myself a tasty salad and lived through it.

Anyway, brains are weird.

I also mentioned in that blog that my attack escalated when I got paranoid about having a pulmonary embolism. I haven’t really been able to rid the thought for the past couple days – but I have been much more rational about it. I had a sharp fleeting pain in my chest and my back while at the store today. Some fear developed – but I talked myself out of it and carried on.

But tonight I saw THIS article. A 26 year old man who had been on the show Catfish died recently from…a pulmonary embolism due to a DVT. Which is exactly what I could not get out of my head for the past few days. Just weird and icky and sad.

ANYWAY…

So this death thing. How in thee hell am I going to get over this once and for all so that I can really start to LIVE my life with genuine quality? I have been trying to lick it for many years now to no avail. Several different shrinks…many different medications. A lot of books and introspection. Nothing is really helping. Shit, man. How do I get over my messed up mind??

I read THIS article yesterday and it really touched home with me. He mentions practicing Buddhism. This has been mentioned to me in the past. I mean, their philosophy is to live in the present, right? So fearing death wouldn’t be allowed. Can I rake some sand and finally be free? Honestly though, this sounds wonderful and I have to wonder…where does one start? Will I REALLY be able to change my thought processes after nearly 40 years simply by engaging in this belief system? It would take some major deprogramming.

Most people I know never really even think about death. They do not seem at all concerned with whether or not there is an afterlife. I know some people who absolutely believe we just die and that is that. Dead. Lights off. No soul, no survival of consciousness. How can this not depress the piss out of them?! I know others who strongly believe that there is an afterlife and we see our long gone loved ones or perhaps reincarnate.

My 9 year old has told me very matter-of-factly that this is what happens:

You go to heaven for one month and then become a baby. Heaven is a huge huge huge mansion with a million rooms. You do not remember your life so you do not reunite with anyone. After those 30 days you pick new parents and are born again. I asked her, “Well isn’t it kind of sad that you can’t see you family and pets again?” Her reply (as she shrugged indifferently), “Yea, it’s sad. That’s why dying is sad. It’s just the life cycle, mom.” She was clearly not bothered by this in the least. And who the hell was I to squash the peace she seems to have adopted with this dreary theory?

There are several components to dying that are encompassed in my ever-present fear.

Dying suddenly. Most people, if they worry at all, are concerned about having a terrible disease and dying in a long drawn out painful way. I tend to focus on the dangers that just snatch you – heart attacks, blood clots, stroke, etc. Sometimes I worry about accidents too. There are instances when I am walking down the basement stairs and I imagine falling to my death and Cassidy coming home to find me lying there. These are the kinds of things that enter into my brain with no invitation whatsoever! WTF??!!

Leaving Cassidy. As I have said, my fear did not develop so intensely until I had her. The thought of not being in her life is so painful. The idea of her having to go through losing me, equally so. This kid really has turned me into a crazy lady. I just love her way too much.

Afterlife. This is a biggie. I was not raised in any religion or any particular belief. And to this day, I do not have any kind of faith whatsoever. I do like to believe in SOMEthing. I am not religious…but I lean toward the spiritual side. I have seen John Edward live twice and that dude has me pretty damn convinced (go ahead, laugh, I don’t care). I have seen and heard of things happening that seem too real to be coincidence. And I have read a bagillion stories about near death experiences. They are so truly amazing and really do bring me some peace much of the time. And someone close to me has had an experience personally.

The thought of nothingness is torture to me. I don’t really know why, but it is. For some screwball, obsessive reason…I need to know that there is a survival of consciousness. And the fact that I will never KNOW that really pisses me the hell off. It’s probably all really a control thing, no? The one aspect in life I have absolutely no chance of controlling is the one thing my mind chooses on which to transfix.

So yea, death sucks. But what sucks even more is my refusal to accept it and move on with my LIFE. Don’t get me wrong. I am not laying here in a puddle of my own piss and tears. I am living a life and loving most of it. I just want to learn how to make it more full and peaceful.

Thoughts?

Panic Attacks: Sneaky Bastards

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When I started getting panic attacks just over 15 years ago, they were rarely discussed and the general public certainly did not understand what they really were. Most people thought it was a symptom of crazy people or an exaggerated expression of being stressed out. The Sopranos shed some light on panic as Tony suffered several attacks during the season. And since then it has been talked about more and more.

As much as panic attacks are mentioned or read about or depicted on television, there is still no way to understand them if one has not had the experience. Of course, some people are better than others at attempting to understand or sympathize. Although some still think you can just snap out of it. Oh, to be able to snap out of it. How magnificent that would be. “Hey! Shit for brains!! Just get over it already!!”

I started getting panic attacks shortly after watching my father die. I have written much about this before, so excuse me for repeating myself.  I didn’t know what was happening to me and I was scared as hell. To make it even more confusing, I was also experiencing a heart arrhythmia called SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) which was discounted as “just panic/anxiety” for well over a decade. I also experience PVCs and PACs. And unlike most people, I feel every shitty one of them.

I went to the ER and Doctor several times with a racing heart or complaints about my heart. I was always patted on the head, given a valium and told to see a shrink. And I did. I was willing to do ANYthing to stop those feelings. And by feelings I do not just mean emotion. I am talking about very real physical symptoms that were, at times, unbearable.

It was an awful cycle. The panic triggered the SVT and the SVT triggered the panic. I was a medication guinea pig for years. And some of the antidepressants I was prescribed likely worsened the heart condition.

When I was about 27, I finally learned how to ride the panic wave. I couldn’t stop the attack but with certain techniques (different for everyone…mine were baths, journaling, watching comedies, walking and most of all – talking to someone who was calming to me). Also, benzodiazapines helped considerably. I had finally convinced myself that there was NOTHING physically wrong with me. I thought I had a pretty good handle on it.

At 28, that all went straight to shit. I talk about some of it HERE. Long story short…my heart – out of fucking nowhere – jumped to around 130 bpm. I drove to the ER (stupid) where my heart rate sustained this high rate for several hours. It finally came down with a dose of beta blocker (which I have taken every day since). I had some tests, saw a cardiologist (more than one) and was diagnosed with SVT. It wasn’t all in my head after all. And after that my anxiety and panic really took over.

The next year, I had Cassidy and things got worse. I had a real reason to fear death now and I obsessed about it. I was petrified I would die leaving her alone in the house. I would imagine the most horrible scenes. I went to a new shrink who finally talked me into taking a daily anxiety med. It was a Godsend. It gave me my life back. Yes, I am tired most of the time and also depressed (common side effects). It doesn’t really help the fucked up thinking that creates my daily general anxiety. But the panic attacks virtually disappeared. And to me, it was all worth it.

I have been taking this medication since that time and it has basically been doing its job. But once in a while, an attack will sneak through the gate and scare the piss outta me. Especially if I am having an arrhythmia flare up.

Last night, one of the bastards snuck up on me. First real, full panic attack in such a long time – so much so that I didn’t recognize it for what it was. Nope. In my mind, I was having a pulmonary embolism.

I was having dull aches in the front of my thigh for most of the day on Sunday. I had no idea why. Tried to ignore it. Then last night I was just sitting here, completely calm, eating my salad and watching a cooking show and suddenly felt like I wasn’t getting enough air. I wasn’t breathing heavy or weird that I could tell. Just felt kind of short of breath. Then my heart started to race and I got light-headed. I quickly took my nightly doses of aspirin, beta blocker and klonopin. I immediately thought – blood clot.

I grabbed the phone in case I needed to call 911. I tried to breathe calmly and went out side to get some fresh air. I tried calling my mom but she was busy and then called Charlie who just said the usual, “You’re fine.”

I talked to a couple of people online – a paramedic friend and a two other friends through private message. Then my mom called back and I talked to her for a while as I finally started to calm down a little. Still shaky (uncontrollably, as though I was freezing) and scared, I was relieved when my friend, Kelly, called. Talking to her helped a lot and I felt much better. I was exhausted (as I always would be after an attack) as well as angry and sad, but okay.

I must say that there really isn’t anything as valuable as a someone who you can talk to while going through a panic attack. I haven’t had many of these people in all of these years…but the few I have had – fucking priceless. Maureen, Kevin and a couple of others (and now, Kelly) throughout the years have been wonderful. I truly couldn’t thank them enough.

So…this really all ties into my fear of death. And yea, I know I talk about this a lot. But I have really struggled to beat this and talking about it helps. And maybe it can help someone else. I want to go into this more, but this blog has gotten long enough. Tomorrow I will write more about that.

In the meantime, thanks for listening and I hope you have a swell night.

Dear Progressives: Please Excuse My Rant

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My Progressive peeps are restless. Many of them are angry. Many bitter. And many may just get Scott Walker and friends re-elected in 2014. This makes me fearful and sad and most of all, frustrated. I write this as I cringe because I know it will piss off some people I sincerely like and respect. But I just cannot hold my tongue.

I understand where some of this animosity is coming from – right or wrong. I get the internal hatred of a forced two-party system. I see the need so many have to stick with their activist roots and fight against the power – on either side.

Do you think I agree with everything our state party decides? Do you think I am lock step in every word coming out of POTUS’ mouth? Do you think I am a blind follower? I am not. But I am also not living in unicorn, rainbow, lala-land either. We. Must. Get. REAL.

In 2010, our country and state were turned inside out and it revealed the ugly gross guts and gore of individuals, politicians and ideals. The TEA Party took over the Republican Party and turned the game into a fucking bloodbath. The goal lines were changed, the rule books – out the window and the players turned the fans into pissed off mobs.

The good news? Their stamina is fading. The TEA Party is finding it more difficult to live amongst moderates and people with common sense and half a brain. There is descent on the other side and soon the extremists will begin to lose steam. And why is this? Because most people are closer to the middle than living on the fringe. And guess what, people…this is true for both sides.

We as Progressives need to realize and remember that people are elected by the masses. Because of that, candidates must appeal to the masses – even (and especially) when the masses are ill-informed, uneducated and un-involved. Most people do not watch WisEye. Most people cannot even tell you who their Representatives and Senators are – not to mention the confusion with redistricting.

You can bitch about the state party, Mike Tate and other party leaders all you want. You can stomp your feet and throw tantrums. But that will not get these fuckers out of office. This will not protect our land, our rights, our safety.

It would be glorious if we lived in world where money didn’t matter. Where elections were not purchased. Where we agreed 100% with even one legislator. And yes, it would be great if third, fourth or fifth parties could offer viable candidates. But 99% of the time, that just ain’t gonna happen. Not now. We are just not that politically evolved. And we will never be while we are busy fighting for basic rights and reasonable laws.

The next couple years are so heartbreakingly crucial. The fight we jump into cannot be against one another. We don’t have the time. We don’t have the money. We don’t have enough of an educated public. I am truly sorry about that. But that is the truth.

We are looking at matters of life and death, guys. Healthcare, hunger…our basic needs and rights are being stripped moment by moment. And we have ONE year to start making changes that are so very necessary. This is not the time for egocentric bullshit. This is not the time to whine. We have to play the game how it is set up in order to be able to stay on the field so that we CAN move forward and make the changes some of you are demanding in the future.

I am not saying you have to be a good soldier and nod your head and mindlessly follow and agree with everything the Democrats say and do. That is what makes us different from them. What I am saying is that while fires are being started in our own camps – we are losing the chance to put out the fire that will soon burn down our entire state.

You’re still pissed about the recall? Get over it. You hate the DPW leadership? Work with your local party to make change from within. You want to start a new party and change the landscape? Do NOT do it at the expense of all of us by losing the next election.

No. The state party probably won’t be excited to help some lunatic, fringe candidate who doesn’t have a chance in hell at winning. Resources are limited and waste is stupid. Your candidate has a criminal record? Well, sorry. But how do you expect the party to throw money and support in front of a moving truck? We need candidates who can win. Period. Does that seem unfair? Sure as shit it does. But those are the facts, Jack.

Candidates are elected by the majority. And as right as I know you believe yourself to be (and perhaps you really are), that simply doesn’t change the fact that people vote by what their TVs tell them. They vote for candidates who take good pictures, who speak well, who seem like every day people. They vote for intelligence and experience. If dedication and integrity were all that was needed to win elections, we wouldn’t be where we are right now. And right now we NEED to win in 2014. Got it?

(Be angry with me if you wish. But this truly was written out of passion, concern and love.)

Food Stamps: Mean Girls on Face (Burn) Book

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For some reason, the interweb decided a few years ago that today (October 3rd) would be declared Mean Girls Day. I guess it all has to do with this clip from the movie:

Anyway, whatever. So, I was reading a thread the other night that was totally not fetch. And I was thinking…how appropriate right before Mean Girls Day. Because what I read appeared to be coming out of the organic apple pie hole of a straight up mean girl.

Okay, okay…here’s the dealio.

A local organic produce store (totes cute, btw ***and yes, I hate that I just used the term totes***) made a post on Facebook that they are now happy to be accepting EBT payments. For those unaware, that means Foodshare/Quest (food stamps, if you’re old school). This is a good thing, right? I mean the majority (hopefully) of us know that one of the most tragic aspects of poverty is the lack of nutrition which only helps perpetuate the cycle. I will talk more about that in a minute.

As I was reading the replies to this post, I was shocked to see the brazen and uneducated comments made by a particular woman. Using her full name (even though I was kind enough to redact) – with access to her Facebook page and personal information – she went on a majorly spazzed out tirade. Wanna see?

Thankfully, I was not alone in being appalled by the words this woman was spewing. Others chimed in with their disgust – giving me some hope that the world isn’t completely going to shit. However, what makes the whole thing even more sad is the fact that this woman is a nurse. I don’t know, but I tend to put nurses (like teachers) on a pedestal. I like to think of them having compassion and empathy. But all I can think about now is how I would belly crawl, leaving a skid mark of blood out of those sliding glass doors if I saw her coming toward my gurney.

And I cannot help but to wonder…if this is what she says out in the open, to strangers, for the world to see…what does she keep to herself?? And how many people out there feel the same way she does? A lot, I know. But, really, how many? Most? God, I hope not.

If you’re like most people, you might try not to think about the sad situations in life. You may try to blind yourself from the ugly and shut your ears to the screaming facts. Well, ya came to the wrong place because I am going to be serving you a few nutritious bullet points today:

  • SNAP benefits (less than $5 a day, on average), and the income requirements to even qualify for them (a maximum of $29,000 for a family of four), are hopelessly out of sync with the cost of living today
  • One out of every 2 kids in The United States at some point in their childhood will be on food assistance
  • Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics and a respected expert on nutrition and the intersection of nutrition and commerce, explain the evolution of farm subsidies and how these subsidies and commodity crops directly affect the prices of processed foods, making them the only really affordable choice for those with limited mean
  • Brief periods of nutritional deprivation during the first three years of life can permanently affect a child’s brain and have lifelong consequences
  • Dr. Alfio Rausa, a district health officer of the Mississippi State Department of Health, has seen firsthand how the predominance of processed foods in the diets of children have led to alarmingly high rates of obesity and diabetes as well as asthma and other conditions
  • Obesity and health issues caused by lack of access to healthy food costs the U.S. approximately $167 billion per year
  • One in 3 children born in the year 2000 will develop Type 2 Diabetes
  • 85% of those families that are food insecure have at least one working adult it the household
  • Food stamp eligibility is based on total household income. To qualify, the income for a family of 4 cannot exceed $29,000 per year
  • The average food stamp benefit is under $5 a day
  • The relative price of fresh fruits and vegetables has gone up by 40% since 1980 when the obesity epidemic first began. In contrast, the relative price of processed foods has gone down by about 40%
  • About 70% of agricultural subsidies have gone to just 10% of the total number of U.S. farmers
  • We subsidize the basic ingredients in processed foods. We do not subsidize fruits, vegetables and whole grains because the producers tend to be small producers
  • 76% of SNAP households included a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits
  • SNAP benefits don’t last most participants the whole month. 90% of SNAP benefits are redeemed by the third week of the month, and 58% of food bank clients currently receiving SNAP benefits turn to food banks for assistance at least 6 months out of the year
  • SNAP already has strict time-limits for unemployed workers. Able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) may only receive 3 months of SNAP benefits during any 3 year period, unless they are working in a qualifying job training program

(These facts and stats can be found in the documentary A Place at the Table and on the website FeedingAmerica.org)

I have written about this topic before. I wrote THIS earlier this year. And I wrote THIS in 2011. And my opinions on small details have wavered a bit as I have grown, become more involved and have educated myself. I have also become more compassionate. They say you get more conservative and less liberal with age – that has certainly not been the case with me. Let’s hope the chica above grows some compassion eventually. Let’s hope the people start to really see not only the big picture, but also realize these are HUMANS we are talking about.

My comment to this person was something like this (thread was deleted so I am going by memory):

I hope that people will realize that at any time in life, tragedy can happen. And you may have to one day use the programs that which cause you so much disgust. While you are using one hand to pat yourself on the back, you have another hand free. You can use it to help someone up or push someone down. The choice is your’s. But remember, karma’s a bitch.

2013 Emmy Awards…In My Words

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Sadly, today – on Emmy Sunday – I am plagued with yet another throbbing headache. This is the fifth day of this bitch and I ain’t happy about it. This happens often in the fall as the weather changes. And almost always when the barometric pressure is around 30. I am pretty sure this is another extraordinary reason for my needing to live in San Diego.

But every year…okay, ALMOST every year, I try to write an Emmy post. Not an Emily Post…because, let’s face it, my manners are shit. No, an EMMY post. I love the Emmy Awards because DUH I love television. This year is especially exciting (well, as exciting as a televised, over-the-top, self-congratulatory awards show can be) because I am a fan of so many of the shows nominated. Throughout this year I have been able to catch up on a few I had been neglecting.

Anyway – it is almost time for another epsom bath and hot compress, so let me hurry along…

And there is when I stopped writing because my headache just would not let up.

Let me start again…

Merritt Wever – Fuck Yea!!

I cannot even TELL you how much I love her character on Nurse Jackie. I am even willing to say that Zoey is my favorite character on all of television right now. And there is no one who could play it more perfectly. She makes me want to be her BFF every time I watch. Absolutely thrilled about her Emmy win.

Tony, Tony, Tony…

Oh Tony Hale. How I adore thee. I don’t think I could ever love him more as any character other than Buster in Arrested Development. But he sure makes a close second in VEEP. His awkward, doting portrayal as Gary is nothing short of hilarious. His win for Best Supporting garnered a big YAHOOO in my house.

Tony Hale even stayed in character during a bit at the awards show…

Breaking Bad…Duh

Another win I was quite happy about was, of course, Best Drama – Breaking Bad. After seeing Aaron Paul and *even worse* Bryan Cranston get ROBBED of their rightful statues…this was a sigh of relief. I mean, seriously, I don’t see how there could be any doubt. Breaking Bad is by far one of thee best television shows to ever…well…be. Direction, writing and especially acting on this show is just miles above most anything else. The fact that Sunday will be the series finale is leaving me a little heartbroken, quite honestly. And I sure hope Vince Gilligan is already hard at work on his next project.

A couple other moments I liked about the Emmys this year were: the tributes, the choreographers’ big dance number (usually I fast forward the musical scenes) and Bob Newhart‘s appearances (just because I love him…can you believe all these years and this was his FIRST Emmy?? Simply mind-boggling)


(this one made me cry yet again…)

All and all – I really enjoyed this year’s show. I am pissed that Cranston, Paul and some others did not win. I also think Corey Stoll from House of Cards should have at least been nominated. Neil Patrick as the host…meh. He’s alright. I’d like a little more edgy humor, but I guess that is more for the Golden Globes. Yea…it was a decent year. Lots of good stuff to choose from.

 

ACA is Here to Stay, Yo

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Sick of hearing about Obamacare? Well, good thing you now have access to insurance because that “sick” feeling ain’t going away any time soon.

If there is one thing that is certain – it is that people are more confused about ACA than they were about the LOST finale. And if you’re listening to FOX News and the GOP, you may be just as disappointed as you were with the Smoke Monster. I would like to give the American public the benefit of the doubt. I don’t wish to deem our citizens as mindless lemmings. And I sure hope in 2014, they prove otherwise. But when I see videos such as the one below…I feel like locking myself in the basement and melting into a fetal position.

I mean…are you fucking kidding me right now?? Still, I know this is for ratings so I am holding out hope that this is just a few of the lowest common denominators and not truly representative of our population.

The stupidity of the people is not the only thing that worries me.

Hold Your Horses, You Freaks

We live in a time of demanded instant gratification. We need everything RIGHT. NOW. Our food has to be faster than a speeding greasy bullet. We binge watch our favorite shows because waiting a week is pure torture. If we do not get a text response within minutes we have panic attacks. There are people who were caught paying disabled people at Disney World to help chauffeur them to the front of the lines. We’re Americans. We don’t wait. We want it all and we want it now. And, while you’re at it, supersize that mother fucker.

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is going to take a few minutes to tidy up the mess we have made of our healthcare system over decades. So many years of catering to uninsured contributed to skyrocketing medical costs. So many years of of leaving people without coverage contributed to long term, expensive illnesses. So many years of allowing insurance and pharmaceutical companies to run the show contributed to an overflowing sewer of greed and corruption. So when I hear people say, “Well, let’s give it a year and see if it fails or not…” I want to pull my hair out!

One year? You really think that one year is going to be enough time to level out the playing field? We will not truly feel the benefits of ACA for a long time. Sorry, bud…but you’re just gonna hafta wait. In time, medical costs will decrease, making your out of pocket percentages less and less. In time, competition will force insurance prices to go down. In time, people will be healthier and need less care, less drugs and less costly late stage intervention.

There are those who complain that price tags will increase because now that everyone has access to care – were all going to run to the doc every time we stub our toe. And, perhaps, in the first few years we will see a significant surge of healthcare use. There are just so many whom have neglected their ailments for too long – of course they will start making appointments. And GOOD!! The sooner people get care for what ails them, the cheaper their care will cost in the long run. For everyone.

Now that people will be able to manage their health in a preventative manner instead of on an emergency basis, we will be a healthier and more cost effective community. But that is going to take a little time. And I worry that the American public  just doesn’t have that necessary patience. I cringe at the thought of the “are we there yet”  howling which we will be hearing over and over for months to come. Don’t MAKE me stop this car and turn around!! Now shut up and leave your sister alone!! We will get there, people.

Healthcare is Good. Dying is Bad. (unless you’re that person who waits until the last possible second to merge into the next lane during construction…asshole)

I went through much of my 20’s without any health insurance. During that time I was walking around with an undiagnosed and untreated heart arrhythmia. I went to the ER several times only to be patted on the head, given a Valium and told to see a shrink. Would I have been taken more seriously had I been covered? Not sure. But I can tell you that those ER visits cost a damn fortune and those bills did indeed go into collection (sorry, public).

I calculated my information from that time in my life on the Kaiser Health Reform Calculator (25 years old, 24k a year, single):

For the silver plan (a bronze plan would be even less expensive and would probably be just fine for most 20-somethings without health issues) I would have had to pay $1587 per year with an estimated tax credit of $1238. What a blessing that would have been. AND I could have stayed at a job I found more fulfilling and less stressful because I wouldn’t have needed to find an employer who provided insurance.

Another option would have been to chose catastrophic coverage (for those under age 30 – including children) which offers preventative care at NO out of pocket cost. For most people, this would be more than suitable.

Gold, Silver, Bronze and Catastrophic. There’s FOUR choices right there. If your employer offers coverage, there would be a fifth option. If you make very little income – chances are, you’d qualify for Badgercare and then you wouldn’t have to worry about any of this at all. Although, due to Governor Dickweed, thousands of people will have a harder time acquiring Badgercare – but let’s hope we take care of those issues in the 2014 election cycle.

Also, had the ACA been around when I was younger – I could have stayed on my parents insurance until age 26. This benefit is immeasurable to those starting out in life. Especially now when college costs and debt are more daunting than ever and while our employment landscape is bleak and miserable.

Quit Yer Bitchin

Insurance companies can no longer kick you to the curb for developing cancer or any other tragic diagnosis.

You cannot be turned down for pre-existing conditions. And believe me, these insurance companies can consider just about anything a pre-existing condition.

There will be more coverage and focus on preventative care. I couldn’t say enough how very crucial this is.

There will be more oversight and regulation as to how insurance companies are charging consumers and where those premiums are being allocated.

If you cannot afford coverage, there are options for most people (not all, sadly…and mostly due to our totalitarian state government which is doing anything it can to fight against the ACA…but most) which includes subsidies, exemptions and Badgercare.

There are those out there who are counting on you being confused or too lazy to educate yourself. What can you do about that? EDUCATE YOUR DAMN SELF!!! 

There are a few who may indeed have to pay a little more. And there are those who may pay nothing. Is this a form of socialism? Who fucking cares. Are our fire departments socialism? Police? Parks? Roads? Schools? Let’s get over this fear of the big bad term “socialism” already. Letting huge portions of our communities remain sick and dying scares me far more than the big bad socialism. We really ARE all in this together whether you like it or not. When the lives around us improve, we will ALL flourish.

There is no doubt in my mind that ACA did not go far enough. I strongly believe that to really heal this gaping wound in our country, we desperately need a single payer system. We need it yesterday. But unfortunately, our divided government made that impossible. It is my hope that ACA will be an overwhelmingly positive step in getting us to that ultimate goal.

Until then…let’s give this a chance. Let’s be patient. And let’s be smart. Don’t be fooled by creepy ass commercials paid for by billionaires who want to keep you sick. Don’t be fooled by media outlets who profit from your fear. Don’t be fooled by politicians who count on your anger to remain in office. Now, take two aspirin and call me in the mo…wait…do not call me in the morning. I will be sleeping and that would be bad for your health. Trust.

To enroll or find out about your ACA benefits click HERE (know that the site has been slow due to insanely high activity – which is GREAT…again, be patient, you have a couple of months)

Primary Decision – Patch

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A recall candidate forum was held a couple weeks ago at the Bray center in Racine. All the gubernatorial candidates, with the exception of Walker, were in attendance. John Lehman was also on the panel. Van Wanggaard was invited, but apparently his car ate the invitation. It was an interesting event to say the least.

I went into the Town Hall hoping I would have a clear cut answer for whom to vote as our next Governor. Unfortunately…with a mere 5 days away…I am still questioning.

It is fairly well known that not every liberal/progressive/Democrat agrees on the best choice for this election. Some unions have thrown their support towards certain candidates, some political figures have named their choice and a few newspapers have also shared their endorsements.

Clearly, the number one sentiment agreed upon is “anyone but Walker.” As I have said in the past, what is most crucial at this very moment is not necessarily getting the very best person IN; it is getting the very worst person OUT.  And sometimes the very best candidate isn’t always the one with the most winning potential.

It would be phenomenal if Arthur Kohl Riggs could win the Republican spot in the primary. I just think that would be a classic, historical outcome and I would smile ear-to-ear. Sadly, I don’t see this happening. At first I thought it was more than possible and seemed to me to be a no brainer. I had no doubt that my vote was for Art. However, I am now realizing this may be an unrealistic fantasy.

I so wish Art had the time and money to really get his name out there and become well known among the average constituent. But that takes money, much assistance and intense planning. If he had those attributes in his corner – he could have wiped Walker out of the race on Day One. Oh how sweet that would be.

I have to say, Kathleen Vinehout was extremely impressive. I have never really heard her speak much prior to the Town Hall and she, in my opinion, was the most convincing about her true motivations. I heard real emotion in her voice and conviction in her words. She was not a repetitive robot stuck in campaign mode. She has a budget plan and takes a definite stand on all serious positions.

And of course, there is my sincere appreciation and admiration for the 14 Senators (one of whom was Vinehout) who fled to Illinois to avoid a quorum that fateful day in 2011. I am sure there will be comments about “fleebaggers” and how they were “neglecting their jobs”. Phooey. Comments I would never even consider since I believe in just the opposite. They WERE doing their jobs. They went above and beyond the call of duty to truly represent me and the thousands of other constituents who wanted them to do exactly what they were brave enough to do.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, seems to be leading the polls. And just that he and Walker were in a dead heat. More and more each day it seems as though he is the strongest candidate as far as odds in the recall race.

There are things I like about all the gubernatorial candidates. Some impress me more than others. Some simply do not have a chance regardless of how much I agree with particular positions. Independent candidate, Hari Trivedi, has some great ideas that make all kinds of sense, but this state is just not ready for those ideas quite yet.

So as far as the Governor race, I believe Vinehout would make the best choice for Governor. I think Barrett has the best chance of beating Walker. And I would love for Kohl-Riggs to win in the Primary. Who will I vote for on Tuesday? I will probably decide on Tuesday.

Thankfully, my choice for Senator is easy peasy. John Lehman is the clear choice and I think it is a travesty he is not in that position now. I would like to remind voters that candidate Tamra Varebrooke is a FAKE Democrat campaigning against Lehman. She even wears a GOP logo sweatshirt in some of her literature. Other fake Democrats include: Isaac Weix (Lt. Gov.) and Gladys Huber (Gov.).

Vote for whom you wish, of course, but vote with knowledge, forethought and integrity.

 

http://mountpleasant.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/primary-decisions